The people of Herefordshire will have the opportunity to make final comments on major plans for the future of the county from 22 May to 3 July 2014. The council will ask for comments upon publishing its final version of the Local Plan.
Following the decision to proceed at council in July 2013, the outstanding work has now been carried out on the preparation of a Nutrient Management Plan, a Hereford Transport Strategy Phasing Study and an updated Viability Assessment. All the technical information is now available to allow the plan to be submitted for independent assessment by a planning inspector.
The publication of the plan follows on from other major events in the future direction of the county. These have included the opening of the Old Livestock Market retail development and the completion of the public inquiry into the new City Link Road, both of which are key planks in the delivery of the growth agenda and economic regeneration.
The final round of public consultation focuses on whether the plan is sound and will start on 22 May and run to 3 July 2014. The Core Strategy looks ahead to 2031 and includes proposals for sustainable housing and economic growth in the county. It broadly identifies where different types of development will go and once approved, it will replace the existing Unitary Development Plan. Neighbourhood plans, currently being prepared by parish and town councils, are being prepared in line with the policies in the Core Strategy.
Cllr Phillip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “It is important for people to get involved at this stage of the plan, even if they have made comments previously. This stage is different from other consultations as we are required to ask residents and other interested parties whether they agree that the plan is sound and whether we’ve provided enough evidence to support our proposals. This is clearly an important milestone in the future of the county, and the plan sets out the range and location of development up to 2031. The timing of its publication consolidates recent achievements in the county.
“The opening of the new retail development in Hereford demonstrates that we had delivered a major regeneration proposal and that there is developer confidence to support this growth agenda. There is ongoing interest in the development of strategic housing sites across the county, and these sites will bring forward much needed housing to meet the requirements of the county’s population. We are also progressing the development of highways infrastructure.
“The compulsory purchase order inquiry into the City Link Road has recently been completed and technical work is now underway prior to the submission of a planning application for the first leg of the Hereford Relief Road between the A49 (Ross Road) and the A465 (Belmont/Abergavenny Road).”
This is the final round of consultation before the formal examination of the Local Plan takes place. A summary of all representations received will be provided to the inspector. The inspector will then invite a range of organisations and individuals who have made representations to take part in a series of round table discussions. At this stage it is anticipated that the examination will take place in autumn 2014.
It is important that all comments are sent to the council by 3 July 2014 as they cannot be accepted after this date. Further information on where you can see the documents and how to make representations can be found at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/local-plan or by telephoning 01432 383357. Documents are also available for inspection at the council’s Customer Service Centres around the county. Two ‘drop-in’ events about this consultation stage are being held on 4 and 18 June from 2pm to 8pm at The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, HR4 9JR.